|Veneman Reminds of DCP Sign-Up Deadline|
Agriculture Secretary Veneman reminded producers that they have until June 2 to complete sign-up for ’02 and ’03 payments under the Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment Program (DCP), authorized by the ’02 Farm Bill.
Veneman said that sign-up is on schedule nationwide, with 79% of DCP contracts approved as of May 29. Also as of May 29, local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices have processed DCP base and yield elections for 98% of eligible farms. FSA is focused on obtaining owners' signatures for the remaining 2% of farms that were enrolled on a register.
Regulations prescribe a $100 late fee for sign up after June 2. Producers choosing to sign up for DCP are encouraged to contact their local FSA office prior to the June 2 deadline to avoid a late fee. Producers will not be able to sign up for ’02-03 DCP payments after Sept. 30.
Issuance of the second counter-cyclical program payments for ’02-crop of peanuts, rice and upland cotton began as scheduled in February and are now complete. The Farm Bill provides for 2 advance counter-cyclical payments, one in October and one in February, and a final payment after close of the marketing year for each affected crop. Final ’02-crop counter-cyclical payments for peanuts, rice and upland cotton will begin in October.
Counter-cyclical payments for ’02 for wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, soybean and other oilseeds are not anticipated because the projected ’02 effective prices are expected to exceed the respective target prices. Final direct payments for ’03 upland cotton crops will begin in October.
|USDA Releases Results of Farm Bill Enrollment|
USDA has posted preliminary results from base/yield updates under the new farm bill. Enrolled farm numbers by state and county are published for the various updating options.
For the 17 states comprising the Cotton Belt, as well as the US as a whole, retaining Production Flexibility Contract (PFC) acres (base acres established under the FAIR Act) and adding oilseeds is the most popular option among all eligible farms. Of all farms in the Cotton Belt, 35% chose this option, while 40% elected this option for the US. Due to the lack of oilseed acreage in the West and Southwest, the most popular option among eligible farms was to simply retain PFC acres.
Only 19% of all farms in the Cotton Belt chose to update both base and yields, while 27% of US farms updated both base and yields. Across the Cotton Belt, Mid-South states were the heaviest users of yield updating with roughly 1 in 4 farms choosing this option.
|April Consumption at Annualized Rate of 7.1 Million Bales|
Total cotton consumption in domestic mills for April (4-week month) was 269.2 million pounds for a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 7.10 million 480-pound bales, according to the Commerce Department. Last year’s April annualized rate was 7.50 million bales.
The March (5-week month) estimate of domestic mill use of cotton was raised by 1.2 million pounds to 351.6 million. The revised seasonally adjusted annualized rate of consumption for March is 7.24 million 480-pound bales, down from last year’s March annualized rate of 7.64 million bales.
Based on Commerce estimates from Aug. 1, ’02-May 3, ’03, projected total pounds consumed during crop year ’02-03 would be 3.62 billion pounds or 7.55 million bales. USDA’s latest estimate of ’02-03 crop year mill use is 7.5 million bales.
Preliminary May domestic mill use of cotton and revised April figures will be released by Commerce on June 26.
|EPA Seeks Comments on Furadan Section 18 Applications|
EPA has received Section 18 requests from the Texas Department of Agriculture; the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry; and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry to use flowable carbofuran (Furadan 4F) to treat up to 1.8 million acres of cotton in Texas; 100,000 acres of cotton in Oklahoma; and 500,000 acres of cotton in Louisiana to control cotton aphid. The EPA believes that the proposed use of flowable carbofuran on cotton could pose a risk similar to the risk identified by EPA for granular carbofuran. EPA is soliciting public comment before making the decision whether to grant the exemption. NCC will submit comments urging the request be granted.
Furadan has been used in cotton in a number of states for aphid control under a Section 18 Emergency Use Exemption for the last 8 years. Because of risks, restrictions on use and extensive monitoring for bird mortality have been implemented in previous years. Monitoring has never documented bird mortality due to field applications of Furadan on cotton. Aphid control has been improved because of 2 new products, Centric (thiamethoxam) and Intruder (acetamiprid), becoming available. Because of the high risk of aphids developing resistance to these new cloronicotinyl products, Furadan availability would facilitate resistance management. Also, growers want to be able to maintain the crop quality by controlling late-season aphids to prevent sticky cotton.
The Federal Register document can be accessed electronically through the EPA Internet under the Federal Register listings for May 21 at http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/. Comments, identified by docket ID number OPP-2003-0167, must be received on or before June 5. Comments may be sent by e-mail to email@example.com, Attention: Docket ID Number OPP-2003-0167. Send comments by mail to: Public Information and Records Integrity Branch (PIRIB) (7502C), Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460-0001, Attention: Docket ID Number OPP-2003-0167.
|NCC Files Trade Adjustment Assistance Comments|
The NCC submitted comments on the proposed rule issued by USDA establishing a program of Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers. Under the proposed rule, a group of producers representing a particular commodity can petition to get their entire commodity certified as eligible for assistance if they can demonstrate that 1) current prices are 80% or less than the average prices for the preceding 5 marketing years and 2) that increases of imports of a directly competitive commodity "contributed importantly" to the decline in price.
Once a particular commodity is certified, all producers within that commodity "group" may submit applications for trade adjustment assistance. The assistance consists of 1) technical assistance from the Extension Service at no cost, 2) employment services and training benefits under Department of Labor programs and 3) cash payments equal to one-half the difference in prices for the commodity (as determined in the eligibility phase) multiplied by the producer’s production in the applicable marketing year.
The NCC generally supports the new program, but indicated concern that it would provide little practical assistance for cotton and other "basic" agricultural commodities unless it was revised. The NCC indicated the rule should be amended to 1) ensure that the impact of imports of cotton textile products on the price of cotton fiber can be considered under the program; 2) clarify that cash benefits under the trade adjustment assistance program should not count toward a producer's counter-cyclical payment limit; 3) ensure that the applicable time deadlines provided for in the underlying legislation are met; and 4) ensure that commodities that receive minimal processing, such as cottonseed oil, are covered by the program.
|Rep. Burr Targets USTR|
Rep. Burr (R-NC), saying the textile trade agreement negotiated with Vietnam (see May 2 Cotton’s Week) was based on faulty numbers, is eyeing legislation that would eliminate the office of the US Trade Representative (USTR).
In an interview with Roll Call, Burr said, "If this is a pattern, I personally believe we need to be rethinking the mechanism that we use to negotiate." He said it is "yet to be determined" whether the trade office can be reformed to reflect his interests. "That question is now raised, and I am asking whether USTR is broken and we need to fix it or whether the best thing is to start over again with something else."
Under the trade deal, textile imports from Vietnam will be allowed to climb from about $49 million in ’01 to $1.7 billion this year. Among other reasons, the Bush Administration has claimed victory in the talks because imports were otherwise expected to hit $2 billion. The deal represented a major victory for retailers, who sought looser restrictions on imports from Vietnam.
Textile Belt lawmakers and the domestic industry had urged the USTR to walk away from the talks almost from the outset, citing the loss of US jobs and the Vietnam government's unreasonable bargaining.
"They had a chance to walk away, and they didn't," Burr complained. "The question is, does USTR have to be refocused so the objective is not to always come out with an agreement?"
|House Hears Warnings on Imports from China|
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary heard testimony from a number of government and industry representatives on the impact of imports from China on US businesses.
There was general concern from both sides about the growing US trade deficit with China, which many attributed to Beijing’s manipulation of the value of its currency. Amidst the concern, however, some witnesses urged Congress to remember that China also represents a huge potential market for US exports.
Frank Vargo, Vice President for International Economic Affairs at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), said that trade has been a "key factor" in the current US economic slowdown, particularly the decline in US exports of manufactured goods. He noted that although the $103 billion US trade deficit with China in ’02 was the largest with any country in the world, "the problem has not yet become so widespread that it cannot be solved."
What is "more disquieting," he pointed out, is that Chinese imports are beginning to compete against US producers in a growing range of US industries where they have not been a major factor before, such as machinery and computers.
However, Vargo emphasized that China is also a fast-growing market for US goods and services. Citing "enormous potential" for additional exports to China, Vargo stressed that the US should reject protectionism and instead adopt a "positive agenda" for future trade relations with China. This agenda should include "aggressively" enforcing China’s WTO commitments and urging China to increase penalties for counterfeiting, while also ensuring that the intellectual property enforcement activities of US Customs are adequately staffed and funded.
Vargo also called for the initiation of a "massive" export promotion program to increase the growth rate of US exports to China to 25-30% annually.
|Export Sales, Shipments Move Ahead of ’02 Pace|
Net export sales for the week ending May 22 were 96,500 bales (480-lb.), resulting in total ’02-03 sales of over 12.4 million bales. Total sales at the same point in the ’01-02 marketing year were approximately 12.3 million bales. Total new crop (’03-04) sales are 1.2 million bales (480-lb.).
Shipments for the week were 296,400 bales, bringing total exports to date to 9.27 million bales, slightly ahead of the 9.20 million bales at the comparable point in the ’01-02 marketing year. If the pace of recent weeks is maintained, exports for the marketing year would reach USDA’s projection of 11.0 million bales.
|Prices Effective May 30-June 5, 2003|